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Cynthia Erivo cast in Widows

MoviesBy Sunday World
Cynthia Erivo cast in Widows

Cynthia Erivo is to star in 'Widows'.

The 29-year-old actress initially thought it was a "joke" when director Steve McQueen offered her the role of Belle in his upcoming big-screen adaptation of Linda La Plante's 1983 TV miniseries, and she wants the filmmaker to see her award-winning performance as Celie in 'The Color Purple' on Broadway so she knows he is serious.

She told the Daily Mail newspaper's Baz Bamigboye: "I said I'd love to play the role -- fantastic! But can he (McQueen) see the show, so I know that it's not, like, a joke!'

"To be offered a role, without having to read for it, is just crazy! And awesome."

Cynthia will depart the Broadway production on her 30th birthday, January 8, and begin shooting with Viola Davis in Chicago soon afterwards.

Producer Iain Canning is thrilled Cynthia has joined the cast, describing the movie as an "incredible showcase" for the talents of both the British actress and her new co-star Viola Davis.

The original series - which was followed by two more outings in 1985 and 2002 - told the story of four women whose criminal husbands died in the middle of robbing a security van after it caught fire.

The group eventually track down the cash for themselves - but then one of the women discovers her husband didn't die.

'Gone Girl' writer Gillian Flynn - who previously worked with the director on 'Codes of Conduct', an HBO series that has now been shelved - is writing the script for 'Widows', which is set in Chicago, rather than the original London, but is said to be very respectful of the original series.

Because of his work on 'Codes of Conduct', 'Widows' will be McQueen's first new movie since his Oscar-winning effort '12 Years a Slave'.

It was previously claimed Jennifer Lawrence was also approached to appear in the film but had to pass due to scheduling conflicts. Casting is still taking place for the other parts.